Friday, 5 July 2013

Get & Stay in Shape?

Why Not . . . Get & Stay in Shape?
“The first wealth is health.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the assured ways of living a richer and more enjoyable life is to take staying healthy seriously. While our modern day culture provides an array of conveniences enticing us to move as little as possible and eat in abundance, the fact remains, our body is a machine and must be paid attention to regularly.

There are many benefits to staying in shape. Here are just a few: strengthens our immune systems making it better able to adapt to new environments, safeguards our bodies from diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease and many other preventable diseases and ailments, increases energy levels, strengthens the mind and acts as an outlet for stress.
I want to share my stories with you today because while I am slender, I’ve had experiences with weight gain, as I know many of you have as well.  It is a daily decision to treat our bodies as the temples that they are instead of the garbage disposable that our junk-food advertisers want us to believe.

Currently, I am at the best weight (not ideal, but best), and what have I realized is that through consistent effort and moderate, consistent exercise and a respect for our bodies, we can all reach our goals. Here is what has worked and the lessons I’ve learned along the path to this realization.
 I was nervous about how to maintain my weight on my own upon going to college without hours spent dripping sweat. And here is the answer on how to do just that...
The “Get” Part
1. Forget Diets First of all, diet by definition is simply what we eat and drink, but the world has turned it into the bad word that it is – deprivation. In the sense of the word, any diet that asks you to change your way of eating and moving temporary to create a permanent situation is not going to work in the long run. Ultimately, it comes down to permanently changing the way we eat. We can taste just about everything we want, but in moderation and fitting into the guidelines of a balanced meal.

2. Change Your Lifestyle Clean out the cupboards. Toss the easy to eat snacks (unless they are fruits and vegetables). Throw out the pop.

3. Challenge, Yet Enjoy Yourself For me, I tried just about every exercise before discovering that simple and less jarring is the best way to go. From running, kick-boxing, step-aerobics, swimming, pilates, tennis, volleyball and rock climbing, I have done them all, part of the team, or on my own. And what I have discovered is walking and yoga has left me fitter and leaner than I ever thought I could be. Yes, yoga can be tough, but for me the benefits are seen not only in my fitness, but in my mental calmness.  Find an exercise that can strike that balance – challenging, yet rewarding and somewhat enjoyable so that you will want to stick with it.
4. Eliminate processed foods
5. Water, Water, Water
6. Think health, not looks The beauty of this is that the looks part is going to be the cherry on the top.  It will come, but it will take time.  So in the meantime and for all time, focus on improving your body for your health.
7. Respect yourself, but be honest Always respect and listen to you body. As my yoga instructor repeatedly reminds us, push until you are uncomfortable, but not until pain. In order to improve we must do something more, yet gradually while paying attention to what our bodies are telling us.  The more in tune we are with it, the best we will be able to take care of it and thus, ourselves.


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